20. The Only Begotten Son

Jesus Christ is still God’s only begotten Son

Many wonder why the Bible calls Christ, God’s only Begotten Son. Are we not also the “children of God?”

Today, we are only the Sons of God by way of adoption. We have not yet been “birthed” as Sons of God.

Jesus Christ did not become God’s “only begotten Son” until God raised Him up, and He was birthed as a new spiritual being. He became “the first fruits” of those who sleep (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Today, Jesus Christ is still God’s only begotten Son. In the LORD’s Day, when we resurrect, we will also become the true sons of God, if we overcome, as God says in the Book of Revelation: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7).

The First Son of God by Adoption

Christ became God’s “only begotten Son” when He resurrected, and He was also first “the Son of God” by adoption.

The Angel who appeared to Mary said, “He will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). This was a future expression.

The Bible tells us that Christ was first called the Son of God during His baptism, when the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Adoption (υἱοθεσίας) descended on Him, and a voice was heard from heaven, saying, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22; Romans 8:15).

Like Christ, we may also receive the Spirit of Adoption, by which we are called the “children of God.”

Paul told us that Christ was “justified by Spirit.” (1 Timothy 3:16). Justification simply means the right to be called a Child of God. Normally we say that a new believer is “sanctified by the Spirit,” but Christ was already sanctified as the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament.

The naming of Christ as the Son of God through baptism was emphasized by Satan, when Jesus was immediately taken by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil, and Satan said to Jesus, “if you are the Son of God command these stones become bread . . . .” (Matthew 4:3).

The Only Begotten Son

The expression “only begotten Son” compared Abraham to God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son, whom he loved. God spared the life of Abraham’s son, but not His Own. The Apostle John said that Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the word” (Revelation 13:8).

In John 3, verse 16, Jesus also used the expression “only begotten Son” in a forward-looking manner, when He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Of course, when Jesus made this statement, God had not yet sacrificed His “only begotten Son.” And Jesus was not yet God’s “only begotten Son.”

Paul said that Christ became the first “begotten” Son of God, by “birth,” when God raised Him from the dead, as we read in Acts 13:33–34: “God has fulfilled this promise . . . in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

Psalm 89:27, like Psalm 2, speaks of the King, and prophesied that Christ would become God’s firstborn Son, and the Lord, when He resurrected:

Also I will make Him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

Therefore, Revelation 1:5 called Christ “the firstborn from the dead 1, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.”

In Revelation 12:4–5, the expression “the Male Child,” described Christ, who would become the Male Child after He was crucified, after He put an end to “sacrifice and offering” as prophesied in Daniel:

“And she (the kingdom of heaven) gave birth to a son . . . and her child was caught up to God and His throne” (Revelation 12:5).

You can see in Revelation that Christ is caught up to God’s throne as soon as he “is born”; this means His resurrection.

The writer of Hebrews (likely also Paul), said that Christ became as “much better than the Angels” (Hebrews 1:4), when He became the first Son of God: “ . . . for to which of the Angels did He ever say “You are My Son, today I have begotten You” (Hebrews 1:5).

The writer explained that Angels are only “ministering spirits for the sake of those who will inherit salvation,” the first of whom was Christ (verse 14).

The Firstborn of Creation

Jesus was careful to show us that His role as “the Son of God” did not begin until His baptism.

Regarding His coming into this world, Jesus always said He was sent by “the Father,” and not by “My Father.”

Jesus never used expression “My Father” when referring to “the Father who sent Me,” as we see in John 5:36, 37; 6:44; 6:57; 7:16; 7:28–29; 20:21; 8:16; 8:42; 12:49; 14:24; and 17:18.

If we think about the relationship of the Spirit of Christ and God in the Old Testament, we can see why the expression Father/Son was not appropriate. Paul described the Spirit of Christ as “WHO” in the Old Testament, because a spirit is neither male nor female.

The Spirit of Christ and the invisible God formed “one Lord” in the Old Testament. It was not a relationship of Father and Son.


  1. Also see Colossians 1:18